THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
If in terms of what is said by the Dharma marks, in the first, the Small Vehicle, there is only talk of seventy-five Dharmas.
If one considers this in terms of what is said in discriminating the names and characteristics of dharmas by the Dharma Marks School, in the first, the Small Vehicle Teaching, there is only talk of seventy-five Dharmas, not the hundred dharmas of the Great Vehicle.
The five sense faculties, called “organs” or “roots,” belong to form dharmas, but the faculty of mind does not. The five corresponding realms of sense perception are also called “states” or “dusts,” and they too are form dharmas. The sixth category is the “dust” of dharmas which has no representation of its own, and so is also called “that without representation.” It may sound contradictory to say that such dharmas are form dharmas, until you realize they re the impressions that remain in the sixth consciousness from perception of the other five categories of dusts. They are subtle, but still form dharmas.
Because it’s the Small Vehicle, it only recognizes the Six consciousness, the mind organ, and none of the other consciousnesses. That’s its only mind dharma, for the state of the Small Vehicle is very confined and unaware of a great deal.
After the Eleven Form Dharmas and the Single Mind Dharma, we come to the third major category, that of the Dharmas Interactive with the Mind (cittasamprayuktasamskarah), also known as dharmas pertaining to or belonging to the mind. There are forty-six dharmas in all (the Great Vehicle has fifty-one), and they fall into six groups:
The first category is the Ten Dharmas Universally Interactive with All Minds which accompany all thought. Within that category, the first dharma is Feeling (vadena), taking and receiving into the mind. That kind of feeling is all-pervasive.
The second universally interactive dharma is Conceptualization (samjna), sometimes translated as “perception.” It differs from the third universally interactive dharma Deliberation (cetana), which is a more internal mental process. But both involve the mind and so both are written with the character for mind, and both pervade all thinking. Deliberation, sometimes translated “consideration,” etc., is thinking over – thinking about the past, the present, and the future.
The fourth universally interactive dharma is Contact (sparsa), which also pervades all thought – not to be confused with the form dharma by the same name which refers to objects of touch. The fifth universally interactive dharma is Desire (chanda), or “volition” – liking or wanting – also pervasive of all minds. The sixth universally interactive dharma is Judgment (mati), just a kind of small intelligence not to be mistaken for wisdom. The seventh is Recollection (smrti), not forgetting thought after thought, for example, being able to recall past events in all the vividness of their unfolding. The eighth is Attention (manaskara), before which you are unaware of something – but after making an act of attention you know. For example, I can be walking back and forth next to a clock but not know what time it is – until I want to know and pay attention, after which I know.
The ninth universally interactive dharma is Victorious Understanding (adhimoksa). This is an understanding ordinary, common people do not possess, and when your understanding has been victorious it surpasses theirs. The tenth universally interactive dharma is Concentration (Samadhi). If concentrated one is concentrated in all respects. It’s the ability not to move, to decide, “I shouldn’t do that; I’m going to hold fast and not do it,” and then not do what one decided not to do. Or it’s to think, “I absolutely want not to be upside-down!” And then not be upside-down. Those are the ten Dharma Universally Interactive with All Minds, literally in Sanskrit “Mental Dharmas of the Great Ground,” the “ground” being the mind ground. They pervade universally and are not just one part, and so are said to interact universally with all minds.
People who study the Buddhadharma need to have “victorious understanding,” and be able to understand what they have never heard explained and still be able to lecture it themselves. For instance, one of you should be able to explain the next group of dharmas. In Buddhist academies in Chung Kuo ( China) there would be sticks with each of the students’ names on them, one name to a stick. When it was time to have a student lecture, the Dharma Master would draw one by lot, and that student would have to explain the passage in question. In most cases, they had to repeat as much as they could recall of the explanation they had preciously heard from the Dharma Master, and couldn’t get it wrong or add nay of their own ideas. Here we can introduce a much better and more democratic method: the Dharma Master doesn’t explain it but you do instead, not only in English but in Chung Kuo Hua (Chinese), and employing your own opinions as much as you want. It will take “victorious understanding” to do it, however, or you won’t understand. From now on, from time to time I’ll have someone else stand in for me – and it could be anyone. That way you’ll make more progress and pay more attention. It may be to explain what you’ve heard before, but maybe it will be what has never been explained – to see if your understanding is victorious.
It’s very useful when you go out lecturing to know the list of the Hundred Dharmas, for you can pull out a dharma suited to each problem in your audience. For example, if they are arrogant you can discuss the dharma of arrogance, or if they disbelieve you can discuss disbelief. You don’t have to give the whole set or list as we’re going now but can concentrate on one. You might say, “In the Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas there is a certain dharma. What dharma is it? It’s Torpor!” Then if someone is nodding off and hears “torpor,” he’ll think, “Oh, he’s talking about me!” Try it out and you’ll find this dharma really works.
If people want to maintain the precept against holding money they should do so very clearly, and not put out false publicity about how they don’t touch money and then adopt a “modern style” and handle it. If you’re not attached to money they won’t be any problem. This is a very important matter in Buddhism. One mustn’t hold the precept against handling money “modern style,” saying one doesn’t touch it yet taking it in one’s hands. That’s incorrect. That’s to advertise one’s selling lamb when actually it’s dog meat and is a form of cheating people. When someone is trying to hold the precept against touching money, you shouldn’t tempt him or her to break it by giving them money when they are in unusual situations such as traveling. Help people not to handle money if that’s what they’re trying to do.
2. Ten Dharmas Interactive with Wholesome Minds
The Ten Wholesome Dharmas of the Forty-six Dharmas Interactive with Minds are called good because they help you cultivate and bring your work to accomplishment. The first is faith (sraddha). You need to believe in the principles and methods of cultivation and that you can have accomplishment, and that faith needs to be solid. The second is Vigor (virya), that is, being single-minded and persistent in your cultivation of good dharmas with no time when you are not vigorous and making progress. The third is Renunciation (upeksa), ridding oneself of all evil thoughts, and all attachments, and being unobstructed in every respect. The fourth is Shame (hri), being very ashamed before others of the tings one has done wrong. The fifth is Remorse (apatrapya), the inner counterpart of shame, felling bad about one’s own wrong deeds and that one ought to change for the better. These two are discussed in more detail in the section on unwholesome dharmas.
The sixth wholesome dharma is Absence of Greed (alobha), not giving rise to greed and love for wealth or sex or food or sleep or fame or profit. The problem with greed is that it is a defiled dharma involving attachments that will lead to suffering. It’s better to know how to be content and not be greedy. The seventh wholesome dharma is Absence of Anger (advesa), having no thoughts of hostility inside your mind, so that even if someone dislikes or opposes you, you don’t dislike or oppose them back. The eighth is Non-harming (ahimsa), which concerns the way you treat people, not just the kinds of thoughts you have toward them. It means not doing things that will harm anyone. The ninth is Light Ease (prasrabdhi), a prelimary state in the cultivation of Dhyana-samadhi, in which both body and mind feel incredibly comfortable. It comes form vigorous cultivation of wholesome dharmas. The tenth is Non-laxness(apramada). Non-laxness means following the rules and relying on the Buddhadharma to cultivate without ever being casual or sloppy. Those are the ten.
Today there are some young people who have come from Seattle, Washington. They are the adults of the future, and the old people of an even more distant future, but for the present they are called young. They have come to our Buddhahall, which, being a little over a year old, is even younger than they. Our youthful hall especially welcomes these youths who, not fearing the cold, have come to our no-cold-fearing Buddhahall – a rare event. Therefore, I represent the Dharma protectors of Gold Mountain Monastery, the trustees and members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, and the President, Editor, and staff of Vajra Bodhi Sea in welcoming all of you young people with bright futures ahead of you. Why do I say your future is bright? It’s because this world belongs to the young, and provided you study and prepare yourselves well, in the future you will be the world’s leaders. But if you don’t do a good job now, you will be led by others instead. So you should study hard and get a good education if you want to be out in front of other people; otherwise you’ll be behind the other people in the world. Where you want to be is for you to decide.
This evening I’ve represented everyone else in giving you a hearty welcome. However, I myself don’t really feel very welcoming, the reason being that no one welcomes me. So I’m not very happy when I see people welcoming other people and giving me no welcome. Now you tell me, is someone like that intelligent or stupid? Such an attitude illustrates the topic of tonight’s lecture, which is the Major Afflictions. “I’m welcoming them, but no one is welcoming me. This world is too rotten!” is that a smart or stupid way of thinking?
3. Six Dharmas Interactive with Afflicted Minds
The Major Afflictions are not small matters. Right now the entire world is actually not in very good shape, and if you don’t want to completely ruin it, that’s even more reason not to be stupid, that is to say, to forget about yourself. If you can forget your self, you won’t have any afflictions. But if you have a self, you’ll have afflictions. You could say I’m an expert on afflictions, having been through them all; and I know that they are the fountainhead of what’s going wrong with the world. It all stems from them.
This list in the Small Vehicle’s seventy-five dharmas again differs from that of the Hundred Dharmas of the Mahayana. These are still dharmas interactive with the mind, in this case, an afflicted mind.
The first of the Six Major Afflictions is Stupidity (moha), for you wouldn’t get afflicted if you weren’t stupid – and as soon as you’re stupid, you’re afflicted. Affliction simply is stupidity, and stupidity is affliction. Don’t be stupid and you won’t be stupid. See how obvious it is? But people still don’t understand, and still want to get afflicted and be stupid.
The categorization of afflictions into six is really a simplification, for if you went into them in detail you’d find there are 84,000. the Buddha’s 84,000 Dharma-doors are the specific curses for each of them. Now we are just mentioning the six great ones, which make fools of the most intelligent people and deprive the rational of the use of their reason. Afflictions are not good things to eat. You shouldn’t make meal after meal of them and not have any appetite when it comes to real food. It may sound interesting not to have to eat anything else day after day but afflictions. However, after you’ve consumed the world’s afflictions, they will in turn devour all your blood and flesh and leave you a skinny leather-bad-of-a ghost. To avoid ending up an emaciated phantom, cut down on your consumption of afflictions. You may ask, “If the first affliction is stupidity, then what’s the second? Affliction number two is not following the rules, Laxness (pramada). It’s a kind of running around all over the place that a horse does when it has no bridle and is not reined in.
The third affliction is Laxiness (kausidya). This is when students don’t feel like studying or even getting up in the morning, workers don’t feel like working, and teachers don’t feel like teaching. In general, it’s whenever you can’t quite bring yourself to do the work you’re supposed to do. You want to do it, but don’t actually feel like doing it, so you kind of muddle your way through the day and let it go at that.
The fourth affliction is Lack of Faith (asraddhya). You refuse to believe what I say no matter what and protest, “You claim there are so many afflictions, but I don’t have any.” Yet, that’s the fourth affliction: not believing.
The fifth affliction is Torpor (styana). As you listen to the Sutra lecture by the Dharma Master it seems meaningless and boring, and you nod off to sleep – in a torpor.
The sixth affliction is Agitation (auddhatya). It’s when unrestrained talk flows out of your mouth, your hands gesture wildly, and your feet walk about restlessly. The general idea is much talking even if told not to speak. And you don’t talk with principle either, but discuss the Jones’ good points, the Smiths’ shortcomings, and how a set of three frogs has six eyes – that kind of stuff.
4. Two Dharmas Interactive with Unwholesome Minds
There are also the Two Unwholesome Dharmas which characterize an Unwholesome mind. They are also called the Two Intermediate Afflictions, by contrast with the Six Major and Ten Subsidiary Afflictions. The first of the Two Unwholesome Dharmas is Lack of Shame (ahrikya), and the second is Absence of Remorse (anapatrapya). “Shame” is to repent of one’s own transgressions, and it’s external before other people. “Remorse,” on the other hand, is internal. Shame is feeling in one’s mind that one cannot face people, and remorse is a kind of sickness in one’s mind which results from that. those were two of the previous Ten Unwholesome Dharmas. Here there is lack of them. One has no idea what shame or remorse even are, two greatly unwholesome states of affairs. Its when one has done something wrong yet does not admit either to oneself or to others that one has done anything wrong, but still considers oneself to be in the right and has no thought of shame or remorse. The character for remorse is the standing heart (mind) radical with the character for “ghost” beside it. It graphically represents having a ghost in one’s mind, and it also stands for one’s own mind being black and dark with no light. Someone without shame or remorse is very difficult to teach.
5. Ten Subsidiary, or “Following Afflictions”
Although the previous two are sometimes called “intermediate” afflictions, they aren’t any lesser than the so-called “Lesser” Afflictions, also known as the “Subsidiary” or “Following” Afflictions, because they arise following their own kind. Major afflictions arise following upon major afflictions, intermediate afflictions, and lesser afflictions all belong to one and the same category, too. There is a connection between the arisal or non-arisal of all the afflictions of the same class. It’s as if they were relatives or close friends that seek each other out. Another explanation of their being “following” afflictions is that once you become involved with any one of them, it will follow you around.
The first of the “following” afflictions is Wrath (krodha). Wrath is the first burst of anger of mind, suddenly becoming wrathful for no rhyme or reason. The character for wrath is composed of the character that means to divide on to of the (non-standing) character for mind or heart. It means dividing the true mind so it becomes a false mind. There is no anger in the true mind, but when this false mind arises there is.
The second “following” affliction is Hate (upanaha). Hate isn’t a momentary attitude – it’s long-lasting. Wrath is when anger of mind has just begun to be produced, but hate is when it has deeply entered one’s false mind and is not forgotten thought after thought, having grafted itself there. When it’s still temporary it’s wrath, but it eventually develops into hate. And if hate goes on, the third “following” affliction, Rage (pradasa), sets in. when anger is in the wrath and hate stages it can still be contained, but when it reaches the point of rage it has to find expression. One can’t stand it anymore. The atomic bomb has to explode. So one starts yelling furiously at the person or hits them.
The fourth “following” affliction is Covering (mraksa). Even though you’ve become furious at the person you think, “Hey! If I hit you directly I won’t be able to harm you, so I’ll hid the fact that I’m angry and not get mad.” What you really want to do is blow up and scream and yell and hit the person, but your fury turns into concealment and you cover it up. Then what happens? You go into the madness of Deceit (maya) and tell lies. Although you actually can’t stand the person, you do a lot of sweet talking and say things like, “We’re old friends, let’s not fight.” But it’s all put on. You’re just pretending to be nice, wearing a false mask and repressing your fury.
The sixth “following” affliction is Flattery (sathya), playing up to people so your erros won’t be exposed, and because you think their power is greater than yours. With evil intent you fawn upon them, hiding your dislike and saying things they’ll like to hear. Put crudely, this is called “patting the horse’s rear,” and it’s also called being a syncophant.
The seventh “following” affliction is conceit (mada), having contempt for others and being very haughty towards them. One flatters the rich and behaves with arrogance to wards the poor. One gazes up at a person one is fawning upon, but looks down with scorn on a poverty-stricken individual for whom one feels contempt.
When still at the level of rage, hate, fury, concealment, deceit, flattery, and arrogance, ti still hasn’t come to the eight “following” affliction: harming (vihimsa), wrecking and ruining people.
Harming others brings no benefit to oneself.
It hurts others, but nothing beneficial accrues to you from it, either. There’s a proverb that goes
One deal called off,
Both partners split up.
It’s the attitude, “If I’m not going to get any advantages, I won’t let you get them either, so we’ll both go without.” For example, there may be a cup that both of us could use, but I don’t want you to use it so I smash it to bits. Then neither one of us can use it. That’s harm, ruining people and destroying things. It’s like two countries with a wall get to use it, tearing the wall down so neither one can. It’s destructive to both oneself and others.
The ninth “following” affliction is jealousy (irsya), being jealous when people are better than oneself and always wanting others not to be as good as oneself – yet not doing things better than other people. It would be one thing if you did act better, but you keep on being bad and hope others will be worse! Perhaps you are jealous of others’ talents and abilities which are greater than yours, or of their being more learned. Or maybe you would like to eat a lot but can’t, and become jealous of those who do. Or else you see someone who sleeps soundly the whole night long, while you have insomnia and get jealous of them. Or you see someone better-looking than you are and feel jealous. Is that intelligence or stupidity? No matter what it is, you insist on getting jealous. I’ll tell you something: jealousy is not something you want to have; for if you harbor jealousy your body will stink. Jealousy has a stench to it. It’s like a poisonous snake that wants to kill any living creature it sees with it s poison. It got to be a venomous serpent precisely from being jealous, and as such it’s still pretty well off. If the jealousy really mounts up one falls into the hells – the hell of excrement and urine where that’s all one has to eat and drink. What do you think of that kind of life? Then as the offense karma decreases one crawls out of the hells as an animal – right into the toilet. That’s because jealousy stinks, but one likes that odor, and so is born as a beetle in a latrine, all from having been jealous of others in one’s previous life. If you’re not afraid of ending up a shit-beetle, then don’t hesitate to get jealous. But if you think, “Latrines smell awful. The stench must be hard to take,” then don’t let jealousy arise. Appreciate and approve of others instead. Jealousy is the worst thing there is.
Once there were two fellow cultivators who accomplished the Way, and upon contemplating saw that two previous fellow students of theirs who had been jealous of them in school had fallen into the hells and then become toilet beetles. They decided to cross them over, and started by buying a flask of fragrant oil so the two bugs wouldn’t have to live in the stinking cesspool but could dwell in fragrance while being taught and transformed to make Bodhi resolve. They plucked the beetles out of the latrine, rinsed them off, and set them in the perfumed oil. Little did they expect that in less than an hour the two insects would go off to rebirth and be reborn again in the outhouse as shit-beetles, but that’s what happened. There was no way the two Bodhisattvas could cross their former fellows over into the bottle of perfume. So be very careful not to be jealous of others, because it’s very dangerous.
The tenth “following” affliction is Stinginess (matsarya), not being able to give. It means, for example, pinching pennies until they bleed and still refusing to use them. It is being absolutely unable to part with wealth or objects. Renunciation was one of the wholesome dharmas, but in this case one cannot renounce. Suggest the person practice giving and he replies, “What do you mean ‘give’? why don’t you gibe to me? Why tell me to give to you? I’ve counted it al very clearly. How could I give it away to you? If I did, I wouldn’t have it to use myself.” That’s stinginess – being miserly.
Those Ten Minor Afflictions can become major afflictions, and major ones can become intermediate. These ten are also “Following” Afflictions for they run after you; and you could also say it’s because you follow them. If they tell you to go east, you go along with them, and you go west if that’s what they want – any direction very obediently without the least resistance. As you reckon the accounts you find your following them is in exact ratio to their following you. The best thing is for neither of you to follow the other but to establish a line of demarcation between you.